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In this episode Nataraj spoke to Taylor Black who co-founded Fizzy Inc. Post Fizzy Taylor worked at Innovation Science Fund & currently works as a Principal Product Manager at the Office of the CTO Incubator at Microsoft.
[00:00:00] Nataraj: I looked at the portfolio there then
it’s completely deep tech, uh, and sort of like invention based, uh, ideas.
[00:00:08] Nataraj: Uh, so what was the process of like
capturing and invention and taking and productizing it and, you know, making a
return out of it? Like what was the thinking process there?
[00:00:20] Taylor: So the, uh, and you can read Malcolm
Gladwell’s take on this in a, in an article where he described our invention
sessions. Um, a and the invention sessions are a bit of a riff on like an
innovation session or an envisioning session or things along those lines where
you, you come up with wild ideas within a particular problem space, um, in a
very unfettered sort of, Um, and the whole goal of this session is to generate
as many ideas as possible.
[00:00:52] Taylor: That’s the sole ROI you’re looking for
in those sessions. Um, but there’s certain conditions you set for success in
those [00:01:00] sessions. And so the way that
we ran those sessions, and I, and I, I ran, uh, a number of them, um, is that
we would prepare for months ahead of time in gathering all of the materials
that related to the problem.
[00:01:14] Taylor: and by materials I mean the scientific
research in a particular problem space, the, uh, market, uh, and startup landscapes
of that particular problem space. Um, uh, things that people had written about
it. Books, articles, um, you know, YouTube videos, everything, uh, along those
lines. And the goal was to, um, inform.
[00:01:43] Taylor: Kind of the fermentation moment of
when you’re thinking about a problem, all of these things w wouldn’t
themselves, um, not be a solution necessarily, but there are all the things
that someone who wanted to be completely informed or as, as, as informed and
possible as possible about a set of [00:02:00]
problems. Um, Had all of the raw material there.
[00:02:03] Taylor: We’d also do customer discovery, we’d
do customer interviews to understand those pain points. We’d bring people in,
um, uh, and run sessions with them where they would, you know, get deep into
their own, um, the problems they were encountering so that everybody who is,
and everybody who’s part of the sessions had to.
[00:02:22] Taylor: Understand those materials, uh,
deeply. We’d even quiz them on occasion. Um, it also helped that, uh, bill
Gates, um, uh, whenever he came to those sessions, he would have all of those
materials like completely groced. And so you, you know, you needed to have them
groced too so that you didn’t, you know, uh, lose face in front of Bill.
[00:02:44] Taylor: But, um, Uh, but the key, so we’d,
we’d get everybody, all of those materials and have them go through them, uh, a
good month or so before the actual sessions happened. Um, that gave everybody
an, an even playing [00:03:00] field in terms
of, you know, I may be a physicist, I may be a biz dev person, I may be, um, an
[00:03:06] Taylor: I may be, uh, you know, a program
manager, but I have all of the same raw material. Uh, and my own perspective on
it that I can bring to these sessions. The sessions themselves, them, um, were
set around particular problem spaces and we’d start, we’d start each, um,
session and then there’s a variety of different kinds of sessions that we ram.
[00:03:28] Taylor: Um, Uh, with a lot of provocations, a
lot of conversation, a lot of like wild thinking and post-it notes and
whiteboards of just dumping ideas out, uh, that had occurred to people or
occurred in conversation or happened in the, in the hallway outside. Um, and we
get all those ideas down, documenting everything.
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